EDICT proposal addresses the problem of deaths in custody
1. IPCMC is not a mechanism for making inquiries into custodial deaths. It's a Police misconduct commission. This would mean any allegations of wrongdoing/misconduct is brought to the IPCMC after the custodial death inquiry is completed in accordance to law i.e. the Criminal Procedure Code. Presently the EAIC is carrying out the task of the IPCMC. By the way the PH government's version of this bill would not cut it.
2. The Coroner's Court should be strengthened and a Coroner's Court Act should be enacted. In the meantime, the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code should be adhered to strictly. The 2019 Practice Direction should also be complied with. Death inquiries should be completed within 6 months of such cases occurring. There should be an inquest conducted for every custodial death case. This would include cases occurring in Immigration detention centers.
3. There should be independent investigations conducted into custodial deaths. For the time being the police investigations into such cases should be done by a special forensics team in the police force in compliance with existing laws. This special unit should be independent of the police station concerned with the death. Ideally it should be based in Bukit Aman headed by an officer whose integrity and independence would not be questioned.
4. SUHAKAM should inquire into the human rights infringements into such cases after the Coroner's Court completes its investigations. The recommendations by SUHAKAM would be useful to improve the situation in the detention centers not only for detainees but also for officers manning such centers.
5. People should stop saying that custodial deaths only affect Indians. It affects all of us Malaysians. This problem can only be eradicated if we see it so. Identifying a problem with any particular race is just that ie A PROBLEM.
6. There are a handful of activists and lawyers who do not understand the need to comply with these things that have already been set out in the law. There is no other way to get justice except through the courts. There is no element of politics and discrimination in the course of the law in court for death in custody cases. History has proven so many court decisions are in favor of the family after going through the proper and due process. Any dissatisfaction with the decision of a court can be taken to a higher court.
7. The cries for the rule of law used by some of the activists should be remembered in the issue of deaths in custody. For cases of death in custody, according to the principle of the rule of law, an inquest is the only way to find the cause of death and who are supposed to carry the responsibility for the death. Only through an inquest will we be able to see the transparency of the inquiry. We also have the opportunity to dispute and challenge any allegations and evidence presented by the authorities involved in the death in custody case. No investigation by any other party is as transparent as the inquest process in the Coroner Court. Justice is for both sides. As activists and lawyers who adhere to the principle of rule of law, it is inappropriate to be prejudice and bias before an investigation is conducted.
8. Everyone should work together to try and achieve that there should be zero deaths in custody.
7 Jun 2021